Tischauser wins first final in three tries
September 5, 2005
Not tall enough. Not enough power. Dawn Tischauser has heard it all before. The 31-year-old from Denver, before Monday, had finished second at the MotherLode two times. In three years trying to make headway in AVP tournaments, she had never finished higher than 35th.So, despite going undefeated with partner Ingrid Rooslid to earn a spot in Monday’s Women’s Open final at Koch Lumber Park, Tischauser was still an underdog to win her first MotherLode crown when paired against two-time Women’s Open champ Angela Knopf and partner Leilani Kamahoahoa.If Knopf’s previous MotherLode titles weren’t reason enough to bet against Tischauser and Rooslid, the height advantage that Knopf and Kamahoahoa possessed over the opposition was.
Despite accepted reasoning, height isn’t everything. The same goes for previous championship experience. Tischauser and Rooslid proved such with their 21-18, 15-21, 17-5 disassembling of Knopf and Kamahoahoa to became the newest queens of the MotherLode.”We’re not that tall, but it’s about your timing and ball control,” Tischauser said after the win. “If you can make a better dig, a better pass and a better set, you’re going to win nine out of 10 times, even against a taller player. I think ball control makes the biggest difference in this game.”Tischauser also said, at 31, that she may retire from trying to make it as a pro volleyball player after winning the one tournament that had hounded her for years.”I was crying. It was a huge goal of ours this year and it was just nice to accomplish it,” she said. “This is just such a special tournament. Volleyball takes so much time, energy and money. I’ll have to wait and see.” Tischauser’s and Knopf’s previous final appearances came with different partners. Last year, in her second final, Tischauser played with Diane Pascua, a pro from San Diego. Knopf won her two titles with local favorite Krista Swartzendruber, a Glenwood Springs native. Rooslid’s best MotherLode showing before Monday was a third-place finish with partner Tia Self last year.
Knopf, a former CSU standout, admitted that losing a MotherLode Women’s Open final after being on the other side of the net twice before was hard to stomach. Still, she said, Tischauser and Rooslid earned the victory. They played scrappier defense and were more creative on offense.”They’re a great team and they’ve been playing all year together. They dig everything and they’re smart. They played a great match. For us to take them to three was pretty good,” she said.While Tischauser scored most of her offensive points on carefully placed drop shots, Rooslid matched the other team in the power category. The Albuquerque, N.M., resident consistently blocked both Knopf and Kamahoahoa – the most important being a huge block against Kamahoahoa to win match point. Rooslid also blasted huge hits whenever she got the opportunity.Knopf and Kamahoahoa served almost exclusively to Tischauser during the first and second games – a strategy designed to make the smallest player on the court account for all of her team’s offense – but the ploy only led to Tischauser continuing to outsmart her opponents.When a block was in place, she hit over it. When Knopf or Kamahoahoa sat back for a dig, Tischauser dunked balls in the frontcourt. The diminutive former defensive specialist at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh also displayed jolting power at times – hammering spikes whenever she spotted a window.
“Those girls just played so smart,” Kamahoahoa said. “It was just about more experience, and they had it. I think they moved the ball around a little more.”Rooslid said the Knopf and Kamahoahoa’s biggest mistake may have been that they underestimated just how well she and Tischauser could play up front.”Most people will do that. They’ll just look at us and say we’re not that big,” she said. “You don’t have to be that big, you just have to block technically.”Pamela Lubben of Broomfield and Kris Bredehoft of Englewood finished third in the 32-team tournament.Nate Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org